Serie A

AC Milan: Ibrahimovic set to miss Hellas Verona encounter

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been suffering with an illness and is likely to miss Milan's Serie A match against Hellas Verona on Sunday.

Ibrahimovic set to miss Hellas Verona encounter, Pioli reveals

Milan are set to be without Zlatan Ibrahimovic when they face Hellas Verona on Sunday, Stefano Pioli has confirmed.

Ibrahimovic's return to San Siro has coincided with a marked upturn in form from Milan, who have won five of their past six matches in all competitions.

But the 38-year-old – who has scored two goals since his move to Milan, including one in extra-time in the 4-2 Coppa Italia win over Torino last time out – is unlikely to feature in Sunday's encounter after coming down with an illness.

"Over the last two-three days, Ibrahimovic and [Simon] Kjaer have been suffering from flu and I doubt we're going to be able to call them up," Pioli told a news conference.

"There are muscular problems for [Rade] Krunic too, so yes, we have more than a few problems.

"Hellas Verona are in good shape, doing great work this season and will arrive at San Siro very determined. They run hard and it has been a difficult week for us."

Milan short of options for Hellas Verona

Ibrahimovic's absence means Rafael Leao and Ante Rebic are Milan's forward options, with the club having sold Krzysztof Piatek to Hertha Berlin late in the January transfer window.

Milan did not get a deal for Wigan Athletic defender Antonee Robinson over the line but recalled Diego Laxalt to fill the void left by Ricardo Rodríguez, who departed on loan to PSV.

Suso also left for Sevilla, with Alexis Saelemaekers joining Milan on Friday to add to the signings of Ibrahimovic, Kjaer and Asmir Begovic.

"We brought in players of quality and experience, but also interesting young prospects," Pioli said of Milan's business. 

"Whoever plays instead of Ibrahimovic, he will do well, and it's not the system that decides victory.

"We've turned a corner lately because the team understood that only with the spirit of sacrifice can we achieve a win. It was a good January, but that is behind us now and we have new important games to play."